Workers Denounce Misclassification, Wage Theft Under Company Scheme
Barb Maynard/Port Division/Justice For Port DriversEmail: [email protected] Phone: (323) 351-9321
(Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA) – Today, port and rail drivers misclassified as “independent contractors” at XPO Cartage, Inc., part of XPO Logistics, Inc., began an “Unfair Labor Practice” strike to protest illegal job classification that robs them of their employee rights. Drivers are picketing XPO facilities in Commerce, Rancho Dominguez, and San Diego, and are picketing at America’s largest port complex, the twin ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, and the Intermodal Rail Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF), when XPO trucks attempt to enter marine terminals and the rail yard.
The drivers are on strike to protest unfair labor practices, including misclassification and retaliation, harassment, and intimidation for having filed claims for wage theft with the California Labor Commissioner’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. In addition to the port driver misclassification, XPO Logistics is also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters in an attempt to deny its freight and warehouse workers from exercising their federally protected right to organize their union. The company’s freight and warehouse workers also struggle financially while its CEO, Bradley Jacobs, continues to make millions of dollars on the backs of his workers.
“We are here supporting the drivers in their struggle against this illegal misclassification scheme, which denies them of their rights and forces them to live in poverty,” said Fred Potter, a Teamsters Union Vice President and Director of the union’s Port Division. “Despite numerous court victories and other government agencies seeing through this scheme, the companies, including XPO, continue to fight the workers in court and deny these workers the justice they deserve.”
“We’re fed up with working so hard, making so little, and having no benefits,” said Jose Herrera, an XPO port/rail driver. “There’s nothing independent about us—XPO controls our work yet continues to fight us in court.”
“I'm here to exercise my rights as a worker for XPO. When XPO refuses to recognize that we are their employees, they deprive us of our rights. For that reason, I am here fighting today to reclaim the rights we are legally entitled to,” said XPO driver Antonio Herrera.
XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) is a global publicly traded corporation whose subsidiaries, XPO Cartage and XPO Port Services, Inc., are together among the top trucking companies servicing the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. XPO’s major drayage customers include Toyota and BMW, Procter and Gamble, and Sony. XPO and its subsidiaries are facing multiple legal and enforcement agency actions for alleged wage theft due to misclassification of their drivers as independent. The California Labor Commissioner has awarded $1 million to five drivers employed by XPO Logistics; XPO is appealing the decision. Click here for a fact sheet regarding misclassification and wage theft cases against XPO.
American corporations like XPO have pushed tens of millions of American truck drivers, warehouse workers, and service sector workers into poverty through greedy subcontracting schemes designed to increase CEO pay. Over the past ten years, CEO pay has increased 997 percent, driven in part by companies that subcontract work. One of the most insidious corporate schemes is to classify employees as “independent contractors.”
Corporations illegally misclassify workers as independent contractors to:
- Lower wages;
- Avoid paying benefits to workers;
- Evade laws providing protections to employees, such as minimum wage, overtime, health and safety, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation laws; and
- Shift risks and business expenses onto employees, including making employees pay for the companies’ payroll taxes (Social Security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation policies, etc.).
At the forefront of this effort have been the mostly misclassified 100,000 short haul truck drivers who move containerized cargo on and off the docks of our nation’s seaports and rail yards and have been pushed out of the middle class and into deep poverty. Ground zero of this campaign has been the 12,000 port drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where many have called the big rig trucks that carry the containerized freight we rely on “sharecroppers on wheels” because of the debt peonage system created by misclassification.
- Click here to read “Rigged, Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing.” (USA Today, June 16, 2017.)
- Click here for an overview of port trucking misclassification cases
- For more information on the XPO Exposed campaign, visit the Facebook page "XPO Exposed."